Thursday, May 08, 2008

Legalizing Prostitution in Las Vegas

By Rosie Goldsmith

From the BBC:

Nevada is the only state in the US that allows legal prostitution, but in its largest city, Las Vegas, prostitution is illegal. When the mayor suggested changing the law, it sparked a huge debate.

Mayor Oscar Goodman grabs the headlines whatever he says or does - and he relishes it. He is proud of Las Vegas' image as "Sin City" and happily calls it "an adult playground".

He boasts about his love of gin, cigars and pretty women and calls himself "the happiest mayor in the universe".

Before he became mayor, he was the top criminal lawyer to the Las Vegas mafia.
But when he suggested legalising prostitution and creating a red-light district and a string of "magnificent brothels" in downtown Vegas, the mayor got his most dramatic headlines yet.

He had opened up a debate on a taboo subject: Las Vegas' illegal prostitution.

Everybody knows it goes on, many businesses profit from it, but in-keeping with the city's slogan "What happens here, stays here", it is rarely discussed.

"It's disingenuous when people say they don't want to legalise it," says Mr Goodman.

"Right now it's uncontrolled and unregulated. There's no check and balance as far as the women's health is concerned and legal brothels could be an important revenue-raising device for the city," says Mr Goodman. "When you speak about it intellectually, not morally, it makes sense," he says. "If we had a referendum or ballot on legal brothels, it would probably pass."

Not without a fight, though. The vested interests in this city are legion.

Read the full article

What are the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution? Does legalization lead to regulation and increased services and support to the women in a way that decreased trafficking or does it promote an environment where trafficking can flourish?


  1. Normalizing the exploitation of vulnerable populations is unacceptable. Relief and support for women involved in the sex trade should come in the form of support services aimed at transitioning them out of the trade, and legislative and public health measures aimed at immediate harm and demand reduction.

  2. Thanks for your comment. Legalizing prostitution can lead to access to government services for sex workers and there is an assumption that since the trade is legal, the number of illegal brothels will be reduced. The reality, however, if you look at Germany and Australia for example, is that legal prostitution, while allowing brothels to operate in the open, can create demand for increasingly cheaper and younger prostitutes, which in turn can lead to the creation of illegal or underground brothels.

    Read more about legalizing prostitution at

  3. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Legalized prostitution always brings illegal trafficking with it. Look at what has happened in Amsterdam. The city had to spend millions of dollars dealing with traffickers and the crime they brought with them. Germany is starting to have the same trouble. Australia now has thriving child prostitution rings in the areas where they have decriminalized prostitution. The answer to the the problem of the exploitation of people is not to legalize it!

  4. Anonymous5:19 PM

    In Germany only a handful of prostitutes have registered for legal benefits. Even though it is perfectly legal, they don't want to be on record as being prostitutes. In Amsterdam where it is legal the city just spent $30 million to buy 1/3rd of the legal brothels and close them. Legal prostitution has brought violence, trafficking, and organized crime to Amsterdam. They have had to spend millions to deal with the crime and violence.

    Wherever prostitution is legal, illegal prostitution thrives along with organized crime. The kind of people who want to legally buy and sell other people are not the people you want to come to your city.

  5. Anonymous7:45 AM

    One thing people have failed to realize is that prostitution has been going on longer than some of us were even born. Yeah it may have increased a bit since years ago but no matter what, noone will ever be able to stop it. You see Metro has tryed it all form increasing the bails, not recieving or's ect.... has it stopped? NO! Another thing is that the higher panel is the ones "seperating" stripper & escorts form street walkers. If your a stripper, an escort or walk the streets, they all do the same thing: "sell some part of themselves to recieve money".

  6. Anonymous10:18 PM

    I'm writing an essay on this subject at the moment and found both the contents of this artical and the comments very helpfull. I can agree with both sides of this argumant: Legalizing prostitution would lead to health care for people that lead this life style, and the taxes would be helpfull for the econemy. However, I can also understand the resistance from a moral veiw point.

    Once again, thank you to everyone that gave their opinion!


  7. Glad you found the dialogue helpful Kaida, let me know when you finish your essay- please add your opinion to the discussion!

  8. Whenever the issue of prostitution is being dragged on the spotlight, almost every las vegas attorney reacts. I wonder why.... hmmmp

  9. Anonymous7:23 PM

    legalizing prostitution is simply wrong...all these people were someones daughter would you like for your child too be in a business like this?....not just morally speaking economically speaking would help and even in the law aspect it would mean less criminalization but think about it in future generations it could cause an epidemic of STD's over population??? because more and more people would be sexually active. what would legalized prostitution say too our children? ohh its okay to have sex as long as your making money...lets not save ourselves for the ones we love ...Even if laws were changed and they "say" healthcare would be available for these human traffickers that really is irrelevant too be honest ohh yay the united states is doing their job and making healthcare available for people who need it ? yeah lets just pat these people on the back

  10. Anonymous4:50 PM

    ok you morons above, you say is wrong, but we as adults own own bodies, why the hell do you have to imposed your morality on other sovern individuals. you are insane persons, and out of touch with reality, prostitution is going on. it could be made safer.
    you are wasting millions of dollars
    in the ilegal market cops abuse prostitutes ,
    there is also trafficking with ilegal prostitution, its only pushed more uundergroend.
    and they dont have any rights in case of abuse etc.

    ohh did i mention your arguments of not in favor of legalizing it, do not stoping and ignore other problem such as increase in sex offenses